Saturday, November 19, 2011

Unseen Tears - Documentary Film of Thomas Indian School, Western, NY

Dear Readers;

April 2011

Some of our Abenaki community attended a documentary film "Unseen Tears" and panel discussion at Sage Colleges, Troy, New York, Dean of Education - Dr. Lori Quigley of Seneca Nation. An excellent documentary film that takes you through the lives of Seneca children - who today are adults who attended Thomas Indian School, in Western NY.

The schools are know as "Residential (Canada) or Boarding (Stateside) Schools", most of them were evil institutionalization of Indian children as young as 5 or 6 years old, sometimes even younger, taking every aspect of what is good and innocent in children and leaving them desperate to escape. They were often times abusive in every way imagineable.

Once old enough to leave, they could not escape far enough from the schools. Most attempted to escape themselves, self medicating with drugs and alcohol, some leaving home and joining the U.S. Military and sadly some committed suicide. Some have left this world because of alcohol or drug related deaths. These are our individual, family, community and nation struggles today. We have hope today, many of our people are following the Red Road to sobriety and recovery.

The day of the event (film) story; Michele Hamel (Benedict) and I went around and picked up some of the Abenaki elders -we all went to historic downtown Troy, NY, to enjoy a great dinner at local restaurant, had a few laughs, and then went on to Sage College, a beautiful campus by the way.

Dr. Quigley spoke first of the development of the how the film came to be. She then acknowledged and honored our Abenaki elders presence in the audience. The acknowledgement was awesome to witness for our elders. The film was very powerful. Councilors are present for anyone who may experience the need to talk to them during the film showing. The film is approximately 1/2 hour. There was a panel discussion of Seneca Nation people, all of whom had powerful messages to share for the audience. A question and answer period followed after the discussants finished.

The documentary film, Unseen Tears has begun a movement of healing for our people, through film. Our Indian people will begin to heal as we move toward open communication, openly discussing issues with each other and communitites, breaking down the barriors of silence. Remember the old saying "stop crying!", where do we think it came from? the past. Lets move on to the future;

Today we can honor our tears.
Regards all,
Denise L. Watso

Monday, October 17, 2011

Denise L. Watso, NY - Nominated for Councilor 2011

Today I announce to the Abenaki community, my family and friends, that on October 15th, 2011, I did officially accept the nomination for Councilor. The discussion with my family at Odanak over the October 9th weekend, and decided upon a couple days before the Nominations took place.
As most of you are aware, my past 15 years of being actively involved in organizing Abenaki cultural, social and political events in the Albany, NY metro area and actively involved with the Government of Odanak, with family living at Odanak and in the States, it just seemed to be the right time to begin the discussions.
I am present always and available to assist, and not only during election season, for the past 15 years I have been dedicated to our people’s advancement in all areas, i.e. education, health, citizenship code, McIvor, Esquega, preserving our elders stories, thereby preserving our history and our culture, always promoting, protecting and defending our aboriginal rights.
My vision is to gain the confidence and support of the Abenaki community on both sides of the border, through dedication and hard work.

Thank you all for your time, more to follow;

Regards all;

Denise L. Watso, Freddy Watso’s daughter

Monday, May 2, 2011


Dear Readers:

PART 3 of 3: Governor Shumlin Involvement in "Mohickan Mohegan" Resolution

Peter Shumlin, then a state senator, now the governor. The below resolution shows how heavily involved and supportive then Senator Peter Shumlin was of the "Mohickans and Cheif Golden Eagle" by answering the question posed; Shall the joint resolution be adopted in concurrence? moving to add a clause and actually have the resolution mailed to "Cheif Golden Eagle" P.O. Box.

He was uneducated of native history then, as he is now. How are we supposed to take him or any Vermont legislator seriously? Unfortunately, we don't have a choice. They thought that Ron Roberts and the “Mohickan Mohegan” were a real Indian people and tribe. And in 2011 they’re making the same embarrassing mistake with the “Elnu,” the “Nulhegan” and other fake "tribes" next in line at of Vermont’s revolving door of fake tribes.

Vermont legislators, and State legislators across the Nations, are continually getting scammed by hucksters dressed up as “Indians”. One would think Vermont learned its lesson and not allow history to repeat itself. A embarrassing moment, now a dark eye on Vermont’s own history.

Please see the Journal affirming the resolution to legitimize the "Mohickans" below:
Journal of the Senate



Joint Resolution Adopted in Concurrence with Proposal of Amendment

Joint House resolution entitled: J.R.H. 55.

Joint resolution commending the education and cultural endeavors of Vermonters of Mohickan Mohegan ancestry and requesting that the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs assist them as set forth in Executive Order No. 97-90.

Having been placed on the Calendar for action, was taken up.

Thereupon, pending the question, Shall the joint resolution be adopted in concurrence?

Senator Shumlin moved that the Senate propose to the House to amend the joint resolution in the last Resolved Clause by striking out the period and inserting in lieu thereof a comma and the following additional Resolved Clause:

, and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Secretary of State be directed to forward a copy of this resolution to Chief Golden Eagle (Ronald Roberts) of the Mohickan Mohegan Indian Nation of Vermont at Box 208 in Poultney, Vermont 04765.

Which was agreed to.

Thereupon, the pending question, Shall the joint resolution be adopted in concurrence with proposal of amendment? was decided in the affirmative.

Joint Resolutions Adopted in Concurrence

Sunday, May 1, 2011


PART 2 of 3: Joint Resolution No. R-90 in Vermont

Vermont legislators passed the following sham resolution, with lots of Vermont legislators getting scammed by the false claimant Ron Roberts - Mohickan Mohegans:

Offered by: Representatives Maslack of Poultney, Waite of Pawlet, Alfano of Calais, Allard of St. Albans Town, Angell of Randolph, Baker of West Rutland, Barney of Highgate, Blanchard of Essex, Bourdeau of Hyde Park, Bristol of Brattleboro, Brown of Walden, Buckland of Newport Town, Carmolli of Rutland City, Colvin of Bennington, Crawford of Burke, Cross of Winooski, Dakin of Colchester, Darrow of Dummerston, Deen of Westminster, Deuel of West Rutland, Emmons of Springfield, Flaherty of South Burlington, Flory of Pittsford, Freed of Dorset, Gervais of Enosburg, Ginevan of Middlebury, Gray of Barre Town, Hathaway of Barton, Houston of Ferrisburg, Howrigan of Fairfield, Hube of Londonderry, Hudson of Lyndon, Hyde of Fayston, Johnson of Canaan, Kehler of Pomfret, Krasnow of Charlotte, Krawczyk of Bennington, Kreitzer of Rutland City, LaBarge of Grand Isle, Larocque of Barnet, Larrabee of Danville, Little of Shelburne, Livingston of Manchester, Marron of Stowe, Masland of Thetford, Mazur of South Burlington, McGrath of Ferrisburg, McNamara of Burlington, Metzger of Milton, Miller of Shaftsbury, Molloy of Arlington, Moore of Rutland City, Morrissey of Bennington, Neiman of Georgia, O'Donnell of Vernon, Osman of Plainfield, Perry of Richford, Pike of Mendon, Poirier of Barre City, Postman of Brownington, Quaid of Williston, Richardson of Weathersfield, Rusten of Halifax, Schiavone of Shelburne, Seibert of Norwich, Smith of Sudbury, Starr of Troy, Suchmann of Chester, Sullivan of Burlington, Sweaney of Windsor, Sweetser of Essex, Towne of Berlin, Vincent of Waterbury, Vinton of Colchester, Willett of St. Albans City, Winters of Williamstown and Zuckerman of Burlington.

Whereas, improving one's knowledge of the various cultures that are represented in Vermont's population is a worthy objective, and
Whereas, it is particularly important that young persons are educated about the diverse backgrounds that can be found within the state's borders, and
Whereas, in an effort to teach Vermonters about Mohickan Mohegan culture, Vermonters of this ancestry have traveled throughout the state to present lectures and presentations at schools and other locations, and
Whereas, these programs have enlightened the audiences about this culture and have won praise from teachers and school principals, and
Whereas, Vermonters of Mohickan Mohegan ancestry are now embarking on a more ambitious endeavor to establish a cultural village in southern Vermont that will feature displays and other educational activities that will provide the visitor a firsthand demonstration of Mohickan Mohegan life and an opportunity to engage in other economic development endeavors, and
Whereas, this cultural village and other economic initiatives have the potential to be major educational, cultural and tourist facilities, now therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:
That the General Assembly commends the important educational and cultural endeavors that Vermonters of Mohickan Mohegan ancestry have initiated and plan to develop in Vermont and requests that the Governor's Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs assist Vermonters of verifiable Mohickan Mohegan ancestry as set forth in Executive Order

No. 97-90, and be it further

Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to forward a copy of this resolution to Chief Golden Eagle (Ronald Roberts) of the Mohickan Mohegan Indian Nation of Vermont at Box 208 in Poultney, Vermont 04764.

Without question legislators passed the Joint Resolution, placing in jeopardy the historical integrity of the Mohican and Mohegan Nations, two Federally Recognized tribes, historically known in the region. The integrity and credibility of Indian people and the tribes impacted was also breached by the States malefeasence.

The resolution was rescinded, there is no such “tribe Mohickans” and this fact should have lain to rest any further attempts at legislating ANYTHING in regards to Native peoples after the truth came to light. Legislators failed in a major way.

How could they think there was a “tribe” called the Mohickans!?

This is the $64,000 question, based on Vermonts current day attempt at State Recognition. 2 groups claiming my ancestors, that I pointed out in the fabricated applications of these "tribes" "Elnu and Nulhegan", still has not been addressed, agian without question.

The State breached the trust of Native peoples far and wide by the Ron Roberts major debacle, and legislators failed Vermont citizens by placing them at risk for fraud by this huckster.

Legislators failed then to ask hard questions, taking verbatim Ron Roberts told them. Why? Because he “looked and dressed” like an Indian. Legislators also failed in their duty of due diligence of protecting the historical integrity of the Mohican and Mohegan Nations.

The debacle with Ron Roberts proves legislators and the Governor are not equipped to make such decisions.

Vermont failed in its first attempt by legitimizing a “fake tribe” in Vermont just a few years ago. History should not have been allowed to repeat this embarressment and blatant infringement on aborignal rights.

Abenaki Justice will prevail in the second attempt.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


PART 1 of 3: Introduction of Mr. Ron Roberts
Dear Readers:

The following news story was brought to my attention this week. In Vermont's not too distant past, when Governor SHUMLIN was then Senator SHUMLIN, the Senator left his mark on Vermont’s history by supporting Joint Resolution No. 90, legitimizing a fake tribe called the “Mohickan Mohegans” run by self declared “Cheif Golden Eagle” Ron Roberts operating in Vermont.

Meet Mr. Ron Roberts - Guilty of submitting false documents and perjury! But legislators keep falling for this, as is evident in Vermont, where it was only a few years ago that legislators in Vermont state were huge supporters of Ron Roberts and his fabricated “Indian” nation. Cheif Golden Eagle looked like an Indian to legislators, so they didn't question.

Ron Roberts "Cheif Golden Eagle"

Please read recent news articles below:

Ulster's, NY tribal land war
County out $240K in casino quest by wanna-be tribe
By Steve Israel Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM - 04/24/11

But little did they know — or want to know — that just a few years before, Roberts — who declined comment and referred all questions to Kaplan — had pleaded guilty to fraud, for using his son's credit cards. He also tried — unsuccessfully — to join the tribes that ran the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos in Connecticut. After he formed his own tribe in 1997, he had even opened his own high-stakes bingo hall in his hometown of Granville, N.Y. — which was immediately shut by the state because, Attorney General Elliott Spitzer's office would later say, the claims the Mohegans made to prove they were a real tribe were "either false or highly misleading."

And, of course, Ulster couldn't know that in 2004, Roberts would plead guilty to filing altered documents to prove that the tribe he had created was legitimate. He had gone as far as changing the "W" (for white) on his grandfather's death certificate to "I" (for Indian), according to federal court documents and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
No matter. If they say they're Indians…….


Another story about Mr. Roberts that you may want to read is:

Man With Flair for Reinventing Himself Goes a Step Too Far
June 3, 2004

In the annals of flimflam, surely a special place has been reserved for Ronald A. Roberts, also known as Sachem Golden Eagle of the Western Mohegans (Mohickan).

The Golden Eagle is not flying high right now. Holed up in a dilapidated Catskill resort he bought with other investors, Mr. Roberts, 56, has pleaded guilty to federal charges of submitting false documents and perjury, and is waiting be sentenced on June 17. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

A National Aboriginal Rights issue is facing all of our First Nations today. Look no further than Vermont and New Hampshire were State Recognition is threatening to change the course of history for the Abenaki Nation in our own original homelands.

State Recognition laws allow interest groups/social clubs to claim our history, claim to be our family member without recourse, claim our ancestral burial grave sights, without any credible criteria or evidence, typically to "sell crafts" as Indian made. To paraphase one quote from Vermont Nulhegan-aki (variation on made up tribe, I have also witnessed Mohican-aki) "Cheif" "like a maple syrup brand, makes it more marketable to be indian made."

An obvious out of touch and far removed from our history remark.

The Cherokee Nation (Click here to SUPPORT - Oppose Kentucky State Recognition Bills) has been the leader in educating and lobbying the general public to this serious issue facing  Indian history and Federally Recognized nations today, and one of the forefront leaders in defending their aboriginal rights against State Recognition for the Cherokee people and their history.

The Cherokee Nation struggles is a mirror image of the Vermont State Recognition laws impacting our aboriginal rights today. Most of these laws are and were enacted in Vermont with sub-standard criteria. One example; allowing for "family stories" to replace any credible or vital record that cannot be produced.

Please read below to learn more of this serious issue facing All Indian people today. You may click on the link below to read more on the Cherokee struggles currently with Kentucky and their success with combating Tennessee ill-conceieved State Recognition laws.


A battle for what it means to be an Indian tribe (3) and a struggle for benefits provided to Indians is currently being waged by groups seeking to take away the identity and benefits that have been reserved to federally recognized Indian tribes (4). Hundreds of false Indian groups are claiming to be sovereign tribes and are teaching their own fabricated culture and history as if it were Indian. They apply for and receive aid from the same sources that fund the historic treatybased obligations intended for Indians. Yet they do not measure up to the credentials required of true tribes.

Some groups are “state recognized.” Most are not. However there is no standard definition or set of requirements for what states must do to recognize tribes. Some states have no standards and simply grant recognition by resolution or executive decree. Some states have minimum requirements but these are always much more easily met than federal requirements. Otherwise groups would simply get federal recognition and not need state recognition.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Adirondack Journal — Abenaki People in the Adirondacks - Mitchell Sabattis

Dear Readers,

In August 2009 the Adirondack Museum hosted Abenaki Day. To list just a few highlights - All the participants who demonstrated their craft had a captive audience, We met many Abenaki's, it was like a family reunion! and we had alot of fun.

Please read the excellent story by one of our own members Abenaki family historian, David Benedict, and Christopher Roy, PhD candidate below who presented our history in the Adirondacks with our baskets donated (1800) by Maude Benedict whose husband was Edwin Nagazoa. A few of her baskets are at the NYS Museum as well as basket making tools. They resided in Albany as do many Abenaki people.

By Christopher Roy & David Benedict, 7 June 2009

Mitchell Sabattis, Abenaki Farmer, 1855

While most people associate Abenaki people with the Odanak reserve on the banks of the St. Francis River in Quebec, Abenaki history is just as rooted in the Adirondack Mountains.

No Abenaki has figured as prominently throughout the history of the Adirondack region as Mitchell Sabattis (1821-1906).

Famous guide and highly respected resident of Long Lake, New York, local history and old newspaper accounts are full of tales of Sabattis' impressive knowledge of the natural world, of his wealthy clients, of the deer, panthers and moose which he hunted, and of the impressive age which his father, Captain Peter, was reported to have attained.

Click here to read more



March 30, 2011

Vermont's ill-conceived approach to its indigenous people fails Vermont voters and the Abenaki people and must be reconsidered. Instead, the Vermont Senate seems intent on making matters worse.

In 2010, Vermont passed into law a "state recognition" process administered by a new commission which was intended to be composed of Native American people. However, none of the commission members can prove any Abenaki ancestry, and Chairman Willard's claims descent from the Otôdoson (Watso). A fraudulent claim by Luke Willard to our family name and has been publically disproven.

Instead, the commission members were almost entirely selected from potential applicant groups, representing real conflicts of interest which cannot be surmounted by recusal from matters directly relevant to the applicant groups to which they belong. Each commission member is committed to recognizing all four of the organizations applying for recognition this year.

Conflicts of interest are also real and apparent within the group of "experts" assembled by the commission to review applications for recognition. To date – Mr. Lacy and Mr. Skinas were chastised by their Federal agency for using letterhead against Federal policy and both were forced to stepped down, although the reviewers were allowed to pass by the Commission and Senator Illluzzi. All of the “experts” have conflicting roles and long standing relationships with these groups.

A brief summary of the real and apparent conflicts on the review panel:

• Dave Lacy has worked with members of the "St. Francis/Sokoki" in this role as Green Mountain National Forest archaeologist.
• Dave Skinas, another archaeologist and Federal employee, actually sits on the board of directors of the Abenaki Self-Help Association, Inc., a non-profit corporation run by the "St. Francis/Sokoki."
• Eloise Beil has worked with the "Elnu" in their capacity as re-enactors working for her employer, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.
• Fredrick Wiseman, a member of the "St. Francis/Sokoki," has collaborated with "Elnu" members at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and has similar relationships with other groups.
• Historian Kevin Dann does not appear to have as close a relationship with applicant groups, although his review of the "Nulhegan" application was mostly devoid of substance. He prefaced his response, however, with a set of comments about OUR ancestors, NOT those of the "Nulhegan."

There has been no adequate review of applications for state recognition. This is clear from a close reading of the public portions of the applications themselves, the reviews of the "experts" assembled by the VCNAA, and the VCNAA's report to the legislature. The applications are characterized by inaccurate information and wild leaps made to convince people that our history is theirs. It is not. The entire application process is nothing more than a grant process, with letters of support and no credible substantiated evidence, proven by the citations allowed i.e. WikiPedia, and the Internet used as “sources of evidence”. One source “Charles Partlow” ancestral proof submitted by the “Elnu”, has already been entirely overlooked and ignored by this “expert” review panel, (the previous press release is attached with documents) while we have provided the document that proves otherwise.

Faced with the truth about these applications, Sen. Illuzzi and the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs, are now considering legislation "Relating to Exempting from Public Disclosure Records Related to Tribal Recognition." As certain genealogical information has already been exempted from public review by an 11th-hour amendment to last year's law, it appears that the committee is now moving to completely remove the state recognition process from public scrutiny. The committee seeks to deprive Vermont voters and the Abenaki people of the open government, transparency and accountability that we typically expect of democratic governments.

We ask all Vermonters to stand with us in opposing the conflicts of interest and increasing secrecy of the state's recognition process, led by Senator Illuzzi, the Commission and groups seeking to defraud the State of Vermont and Abenaki Nation citizens. We ask all Vermonters to take a stand for justice, historical truth, and respect for the Abenaki people and our history.

For more information, contact:

Denise L. Watso, Abenaki First Nation

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dr. Masta - A Skillful Physician and a Good Man

Dear Readers;
The news article below highlights another Abenaki historical figure and leader living and working in Barton, Vermont;
Dr. John Baptiste Masta as "A Skillful physician and a good man."

Today I am humbled by the fact that Dr. Masta happens to be my great-great-great-great Uncle. Another Abenaki Connection made here is Dr. John Masta's stepsister, Marie (Osunkherhine) Benedict, was the grandmother of Catherine Watso, my Dad's paternal grandmother. I thought my readers might find the article interesting. Please feel free to comment and let me know.

Also, a quote I found interesting from the article:
"To begin at the beginning, when the doctor was a leading citizen of Barton his Abenaki ancestry was no secret. It figured prominently in the Reverend Pond's funeral oration".

A skillful physician and a good man
Written by Chris Braithwaite

SharePublished on November 9, 1994

John Baptiste Masta, M.D.
Photo courtesy of Richard EbensA.A. Earle, editor of the Irasburg Independent and Standard, devoted a good deal of his issue of November 1, 1861, to the obituary of John Baptiste Masta, M.D., late of Barton.

"When men have attained to eminence in life by their individual efforts, and are beloved for the good they accomplish," Mr. Earle began, "there is a commendable desire to form an intimate acquaintance with their history - to study the motives by which they have been actuated, as well as the principles and efforts which have guided to success."

"But a few days ago and Dr. Masta was in our midst, actively engaged in going about doing good," the editor wrote. "Now he sleeps in death, and the community unites with the afflicted friends in mourning the loss of a skillful physician and a good man."

At that, the journalist turned the matter over to a professional, and printed a lengthy excerpt from the funeral sermon of the Reverend Mr. Pond of the Congregational Church of Barton.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Watso Family Historic Photo's

Dear Readers,
I have a link to share of a Abenaki historic family photo.

My Great Aunt Doris Dauphinais. I remember my great Aunt Doris coming to visit our family when we lived in Albany, New York. I was just a child and I remember her having a great time with my father Frederick Watso, who was making her laugh.

Dad was telling Aunt Doris tales of dealing with the unforgivable sun while working on the roofs' of Albany neighborhood residential homes for Alco Roofing. Abenaki families having a beer and enjoying the visit of familiar faces.

More to come...


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Looking back on the life and times of John Mitchell, Abenaki of Indian Lake, NY

Dear Readers,

The article below is a great addition to the history of the Adirondack's and highlights our Abenaki family connections to the mountains and lakes north of Albany. 

Written By Christopher Roy & David Benedict
June 27, 2009

BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE — Some years ago, visits with the late John Fish at the Indian Lake Museum left us wondering about the life and family of his Abenaki grandfather, John Mitchell. Visits with Town Historian Bill Zullo and with the late Warder Cadbury piqued our curiosities even more.

Old stories about the origins of the Mitchells seemed to contradict themselves, and their cousins, the Camps (particularly Emma Camp Mead), garnered more attention from local historians over the years and were better represented in the displays at the Indian Lake Museum. We knew that the Mitchells and the Camps were descendants of Sabael Benedict, but wanted to learn more. In the following paragraphs, we would like to share some of the results of our research.

Click on link to go to Full article

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

1860 “A Sketch of the Early History of Ferrisburg.” Vermont Quarterly Gazeteer

Dear Readers,
I was compelled to post this article of my grandfathers, grandfather, John "Jean Baptiste" Watso naming of the Champlain Valley in the Abenaki language, enjoy the beauty: 

Robinson, R.E. 1860. “A Sketch of the Early History of Ferrisburg.” Vermont Quarterly Gazeteer, Abby Maria Hemenway, ed. 1:31-35.

From pages 31-32:
            If the traditions of the St. Francois Indians are to be relied on, the eastern shore of Lake Champlain was anciently inhabited by the Zoquageers, a subdivision of the great Abenakee tribe or nation which once occupied the northern part of New England.  By the forays of their enemies, the warlike Iroquois, and the encroachment of the whites, the Zoquageers were gradually driven from Vermont, and their last village of consequence within its limits, was on Missisque Bay, in the present town of Alburgh.  They had, for the most part, removed before the Revolution to the St. Francois River, in Canada, where the survivors of this once powerful tribe now live, commonly known as the St. Francois Indians, though they style themselves as of old, Zoquageers and Abenakees, or as they pronunce it, Wau-ban-a-kees.  Their names of rivers in Ferrisburgh were, of Great Otter Creek, Pecunk-tuk, or the Crooked River; of Little Otter, Wonakake-tuk, [accents in original] or the River of Otters; and of Lewis Creek, Sungahnee-tuk, or the Fishing Place.*  Lake Champlain they called Pe-tou-bouque.+

* This was told to me by John Watso, or Wadhso, an intelligent Indian of St. Francois.  He also gave the names of some other rivers of the Champlain Valley.  Azzasataquake was their name for the Missisque River, signifying, The stream that turns back. [Missisque is a corruption of Masseepsque, The place of arrow flints; and applies only to the bay of that name.]  The Au Sable was known as Popoquamanee-tuk, The Cranberry River, and Saranac is corrupted from Senhalenac-tuk, The river of sumac-trees.  The dried leaves of the sumac were used by them for smoking, and hence the tree was of sufficient importance to give a name to the stream where it grew in abundance.
+ Watso’s definition of this word is, “The waters that lie between;” that is, between the countries of the Abenakees and Iroquois.  Others of the tribe with whom I have conversed interpreted this name otherwise, but cannot give an intelligible translation of it.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Email by Denise L. Watso of February 7th, 2011
Good Evening;

This email is directed to reporters in Vermont, whom I am asking to provide our Abenaki people the opportunity for a fair and equitable account of the State Recognition process unfolding in Vermont today. The greatest injustice ever NOT recorded in the history of the Abenaki people is being ignored by reporters who are too busy to investigate the facts and allow our Abenaki brothers and sisters the dignity of telling our side of the story, the historically known Abenaki who oppose the State Recognition of non-Indians, who have been allowed in the newspapers and blogs of Vermont to misrepresent the facts about who we are to the citizens of Vermont. We all deserve better.

I have sent press releases with facts, our opposition, and explanations, to no avail. The reporters of Vermont can and should do more of an investigation and should not be significantly influenced by these groups. Many promises made to us have been broken during our opposing State Recognition. Many ethical issues and conflicts of interest have not been questioned and are being overlooked by reporters too busy to report the issues clouding the State Recognition process.

I know the National dilemma facing newspapers and journalists today, but this does not excuse leaving our opposition ignored and unreported to the citizens of Vermont and allowing us to be shut out of the opportunity to represent our side. The issue in Vermont will have a permanent impact forever to our people, who have lived in the “U.S.” since time immemorial. Please give us the respect we deserve, to represent ourselves and stand up for our ancestors, therefore please dedicate more investigation and an opposing view to be expressed.

Promises have been broken, some actually denying us our basic Civil Rights and the legislature has not been in compliance with several articles of the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I append just a few of the violations below for your reference:

Article 2
Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.
Article 4
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their rights to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.
Article 7
1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.
2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:
(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
(c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;
(d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration by other cultures or ways of life imposed on them by legislative, administrative or other measures;
(e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them.


Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society's principles and standards of practice.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Honorable Words for Ernest Kaientaronkwen Benedict: (1918-2011) “Akwesasne’s Conscience”

The passing of Mohawk elder, Ernest Kaientaronkwen Benedict as written by Doug George-Kanentiio

News From Indian Country Febuary 2011

Obituary for Passing of Ernest Kaientaronkwen Benedict (1918-2011)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Abenaki Nation - Cherokee Nation Similiar Issues of State Recognition

The Cherokee Nation was successful in their quest to expose fraudulent groups claiming to be relatives of the Cherokee people. An excellent video on YouTube below about educating ALL people and the National Aboriginal rights issue of State's attempt to grant recognition to groups lobbying States to "become Indian".

Our Abenaki families are under going similar, if not the exact same issues as the Cherokee Nation with groups claiming to be Abenaki "Tribes", therefore, our family members in our original territories, Vermont.

The self-declared Abenaki, groups in Vermont are attempting to get in the back door of the State of Vermont and New Hampshire for recognition, because to go in the front door, they would be denied, as was the case with the most established group in Vermont, the St. Francis/Sokoki. The other groups have been in existence only recently, and are considered by the Federal government to be splinter groups of the St. Francis/Sokoki, and therefore would be designated as such, and denied.

The St Francis/Sokoki, after providing the Federal government the documentation requested, were denied Federal Recognition. The evidence was not sufficient, an extremely "weak petition and rare that the group should fail the most basic criteria, being Indian", as relayed by an NARF attorney familiar with the petition at time of submittal.

Please read the petition and related material of the St.Francis/Sokoki from the Bureau of Indian Affairs:

Weak State laws and even weaker criteria for what constitutes evidence for being Indian is being eroded by ill-informed and ill-equipped State lawmakers Nationally and now in Vermont and New Hampshire. Please watch the excellent video by the proactive Cherokee Nation.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


February 3, 2011

Will the Vermont legislature extend state recognition to applicants with no proof of Abenaki ancestry (or any Native American ancestry) whatsoever?

Vermont Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 23, Section 853 (c) (2) requires that applicants submit genealogical documents which "show a descendency from identified Vermont or regional native people," but also allows for the "submission of letters, statements, and documents" from other groups, agencies, and governments to "supplement" criteria such as 853 (c) (2).  How could the Vermont legislature allow such a loophole to be written into its legislation?  After all, the most controversial claim made by groups applying for recognition is that they are Abenaki.  According to the Vermont legislature, they don't have to offer any proof of that assertion.

Regardless, whatever documentation they do submit is not available for public review.  In a last-minute amendment last year, the Vermont Senate decided to remove transparency from the process.  Why are they afraid of public scrutiny?  Doesn't Vermont deserve better?  Don't the state's true indigenous people deserve better?

The Vermont legislature seems intent on giving "state recognition" to non-native people, at the expense of historically-known Abenaki people whose homeland has included the Connecticut River Valley, the Champlain Valley, the Green Mountains, and the shores of Lake Memphramagog since time immemorial.  And apparently, they plan to do it with loopholes and secrecy.

Please contact your Vermont legislators and demand that they reject pending applications for state recognition under this reprehensible law.  Vermont's leaders should sit down with real Abenaki people to build a new relationship based on respect, transparency and justice for all.


February 2, 2011

On January 25, 2011, Sen. Vince Illuzzi invited elected leaders; Councilor Jacques Thériault Watso and Alain O'Bomsawin, representatives of the Abenaki people, and Richard Bernier, Denise Watso to testify before the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs regarding S.10 and S.11.  These bills would extend official state recognition to two applicant organizations who claim to be Abenaki, a position which is NOT supported by the evidence.

On January 31, 2011, the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs informed Mr. Bernier that it had rescinded its invitation - only Vermont residents would be allowed to provide "direct oral testimony."

This attempt to silence the Abenaki people is in direct opposition to Abenaki history and to our aboriginal rights.  Some of us have our primary residence in Vermont, and many others live in Quebec, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and elsewhere.  However, Vermont has been part of our homeland for thousands of years.  We will not abandon our nationhood - something much larger than one state - because legislators are scared to hear from the true indigenous people of the Champlain Valley, the Green Mountains, the Connecticut River and the shores of Lake Memphramagog.

What are they so afraid of?  Why must they attempt to silence our voices, and deny us our aboriginal, civil, and human rights?  Why can't they look us in the eyes and hear our voices as we speak in defense of the truth of Abenaki history and the need for justice and respect?  What are they so afraid of?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

50 Years Later: Watso Families Recieve Verranzano-Narrows Bridge Medal

Samuel Watso
About 20 Watso families traveled from Waterbury, CT; Albany, NY; Odanak Reserve, P.Q. Canada; Buffalo, NY; and Florida; to converge on a trip to New York City, September 24, 2010 to collect Ironworker Medals on behalf of four Watso men, two sets of first cousins, brothers - Samuel (Sammy) and Raymond; brothers - Thomas (Tommy) and William (Billy Joe) Watso. The four Watso men were Ironworkers (Skywalkers) on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, living in Brooklyn, NY (Little Kahnawake) in the 1960's, and Long Island.

Click here for College of Staten Island Archives, Verranzano-Narrows Bridge

There is one recipient left living today at Odanak Reserve, P.Q., Canada, Raymond Watso, who was instrumental in providing me the information necessary to continue the documentation trail for the requirements of the Ironworker Medals. Thank you Uncle Raymond!

Denise Watso; Denise (Watso) Paul; James Fortunato of MTA; Tommy Watso; Bonnie (Watso) Porter; June (Watso)Wolfe
All of the 4 Watso men were represented and honored by their son, daughter, sister and cousin standing tall some 50 years later.

Abenaki Nation Tribal members immediate families were in attendance as well as Anthropologist PhD candidate Christopher Roy, from Princeton University attending the ceremony. A trip was scheduled as well to take us to the American Indian Museum in Smithsonian, in NYC to view historical documents and hear from our own Watso family historian and respected elder, June Watso-Wolfe.

I am proud to have finalized a chapter in the lives of the men and women who had the courage, determination and dedication to take all the risks of leaving family, and a small village reservation to venture to New York City, some 500 miles away south and climb steel to provide for their families back home.

A special thank you to all who made the trip worth while, and especially Tom and Holly who had a houseful and didn't hesitate to say yes to 10 people staying for the weekend! The MTA, Bridges and Tunnels, and the College of Staten Island! 

Front of Medal

Back of the medal